THE TURNING POINT: A 20-6 Ashland run to end the first half, putting the Eagles up 20 at the break.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles have tied the program record for most consecutive wins to start a season at 24.
HILLSDALE, Mich. – Ashland University's women's basketball team recorded quite a bit of history on Saturday (Feb. 4) afternoon.
Thanks to a 102-82 win at Hillsdale, the No. 1-ranked Eagles did the following:
- Improved to 24-0 overall and 16-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The 24 straight wins to begin 2016-17 ties the program record, set originally by the 2012-13 NCAA Division II national championship team.
- Ashland clinched its sixth GLIAC South Division championship in the last seven years with four regular-season games to play.
- The Eagles also tied the program record for most consecutive road victories with 14. The current streak began on Feb. 18, 2016, and the original mark was set from Nov. 13, 2011-March 21, 2012.
"This is the end of the three-game road trip that we were on," noted Ashland head coach Robyn Fralick, now 55-2 as a college head coach. "We've been focusing in on making sure that we were ready, and having a level of toughness. This was the end of that, and there were segments of the game where we really played well.
"To do what this team has done throughout the year, and what I've been so proud of in coaching them is a level of consistency, and that's not only in the way they perform, but the way they practice and the way they treat each other. So being able to win the GLIAC South is absolutely as reflection of that."
Ashland's two junior forwards, Laina Snyder and Andi Daugherty, continue to move up the program's all-time scoring ranks, as well. Snyder ended Saturday with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and with 1,419 career points, passed current Eagle assistant coach Kari Pickens for fifth all-time. Daugherty added 16 points and nine boards, and with 1,281 career points, moves into ninth all-time.
Freshman guard Jodi Johnson posted 13 points, a career-high eight assists and a career-high-tying five steals in AU's latest victory.
"It's a pretty awesome feeling just to have that, and I'm just blessed with the opportunity I've had this year," Johnson said of the division title. "That's what this team's all about. We get our points on offense from our defense, and we really take pride in our defense."
Sophomore guard Maddie Dackin and junior forward Julie Worley each added 12 points (Worley with a game-high 12 rebounds, as well) and freshman guard/forward Sara Loomis rounded out six Eagles in double-digit scoring with 11.
Ashland grabbed 51 rebounds as a team, marking the first time it had at least 50 caroms since…the last game against the Chargers at home on Jan. 14 (50).
The Eagles scored more than 100 points for a school-record eighth time this season, and have scored at least 75 points in each of the first 24 games of the campaign.
For Hillsdale, four players scored in double figures, led by Allie Dewire's 20 points and Allie Dittmer's 14.
Ashland got out to a quick 6-0 lead, but Hillsdale used a couple 3-point field goals to help cut that early deficit to 12-10. The remainder of the first quarter stayed close, and after the first 10 minutes of play, the Eagles led 29-21 thanks to an 8-0 run punctuated by triples from Dackin and Loomis.
Leading 38-32 with six minutes left until halftime, Ashland's defense tightened up and the offense picked up. A running jumper by senior guard Alex Henning at the buzzer gave the Eagles a 58-38 lead. The numbers after the first 20 minutes are what those watching AU in 2016-17 have come to expect – 52.4-percent shooting from the floor, 83.3 percent from the foul line and 14 assists on offense, and 10 forced turnovers on defense.
The Eagles kept the pressure up to begin the third quarter, getting into passing lines and turning three Charger turnovers in the first 2:27 of the second half into a 68-43 advantage. Ashland led 80-56 going into the fourth quarter, the rest of the game was academic.
Ashland started the day one of three undefeated women's basketball teams in Division II, but a Lincoln Memorial loss earlier on Saturday made AU one of two D-II teams with no defeats.
UP NEXT: Back home to Kates Gymnasium on Thursday (Feb. 9) at 5:30 p.m. against Lake Erie (7-15, 5-11).